Study tests new treatment for colitis
Press release issued: 18 May 2004
Research from Bristol University on a new method for treating the digestive disease, ulcerative colitis will be presented at an international conference of experts in New Orleans.
Research from Bristol University on a new method for treating the digestive disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) will be presented at an international conference of experts in New Orleans on Tuesday, 18 May as part of Digestive Disease Week 2004.
Lower bowel diseases collectively cause thousands of deaths and cost millions of pounds in related health care costs every year, partially due to a lack of effective diagnostic procedures and effective therapies.
Dr Tom Creed and colleagues from the Henry Wellcome Laboratories at Bristol University explored the potential of an antibody called basiliximab as a new treatment for UC.
Steroid therapy is the most effective treatment for UC but up to 30% of patients will have a poor response to steroids. These steroid resistant individuals present a difficult clinical challenge to gastroenterologists, with few treatment options available after steroids other than removal of the entire colon (colectomy). Basiliximab, a novel monoclonal antibody, could be an effective alternative.
Basiliximab has been proven effective as a steroid sensitizer in steroid resistant UC both in the lab and in humans. The Bristol pilot study examined an extended series of 30 steroid resistant UC patients treated with basiliximab. Twenty patients with moderately active disease and 10 patients with severe disease were treated with a single intravenous dose of basiliximab (40mg) in addition to their standard steroid therapy. They were then monitored for remission within eight weeks with ‘remission’ defined by an Ulcerative Colitis Symptom Score (UCSS) of less than two.
The researchers found that:
- 24 out of the 30 patients (80%) improved their UCSS score with 19 out of the 30 (63%) achieving full remission.
- In the moderate disease group, 14 out of 20 patients (70%) achieved full remission, and a further five (25%) showed an improvement.
- In the severe disease group, five of the 10 patients (50%) achieved remission, while five required colectomy.
Dr Creed said: “These studies show that the use of basiliximab can provide significant improvements or remission for patients with ulcerative colitis. We hope that a larger, controlled trial will confirm these results and help make this potentially valuable therapy available to patients who can benefit from it.”
Digestive Disease Week
Digestive Disease Week is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Throughout Digestive Disease Week 2004 [May 15-19], researchers will present evidence of accurate and effective new methods for diagnosis, as well as improved treatment options, for sufferers of ulcerative colitis and related irritable bowel diseases.
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the large intestine. The inflammation usually occurs in the rectum and lower part of the colon, but it may affect the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the end section, called the terminal ileum. Ulcerative colitis may also be called colitis or proctitis.
Basiliximab has the tradename Simulect® and is manufactured by Novartis.